Is Mirror Touch Synesthesia a Real Thing

What is Mirror Touch Synesthesia?

Mirror touch synesthesia (MTS) is a condition where you experience the feeling of being touched by someone else when they are looking at you. You may have experienced it before or not, but if you do, then you most likely had never thought about it until now. MTS is a rare condition and there are no known causes. However, it does seem to run in families.

There are two types of MTS: one type involves only seeing your own reflection while the other involves seeing others’ reflections as well. Both types of MTS involve feelings of warmth and closeness from touching another person’s face. If you ever wondered why some people feel so warm after hugging or kissing their loved ones, then you need to read on…

How Does It Affect Me?

The feeling of warmth and closeness that comes with touching another person’s face is very pleasant. Some people even say that it feels like a hug or kiss. It makes you feel happy and relaxed. Many people report having feelings similar to these feelings when they see themselves in mirrors or look into each others eyes while talking to them.

The difference with people who have MTS is that they feel exactly as if someone else is touching them when they see someone else looking at or touching themselves.

If a person with this condition was to see another person scratching their ear for example, then they would feel as if someone was scratching their own ear. If the other person was smiling, then the sufferer of MTS may feel as if someone else is smiling at them.

What Does It Feel Like?

People who suffer from MTS describe the feelings as very real. Imagine experiencing touch in the areas of your face all the time. The condition can make the sufferer feel irritable and uneasy and they may even react aggressively towards other people. If you have ever experienced someone touching your face and you didn’t want them to, then you can imagine how this would make the sufferer feel.

If someone has MTS then they will likely try to avoid crowds of people or try to stay away from mirrors as much as possible. It is a very hard condition to manage but there are some strategies people can use to make it easier to deal with.

The Mirror Box Technique

One way that people can manage mirror touch synesthesia is through a technique known as the mirror box technique. All you need for this is an old square mirror and some cardboard to make a small box. The size of the box doesn’t really matter as long as you can place your hand inside it.

What you do is tape the mirror to the inside of the box on one side and then attach a small opening on the opposite side. When your hand is inside the box you can cover the mirror with your hand and when you move your hand away you will be able to see through the opening. This is what you will see:

When you put your hand inside the box your reflection should be completely covered by it. This will give the illusion that you can see right through your body. You would still feel as if someone is touching or looking at you but through the technique of the mirror box, you won’t actually see yourself.

This may sound a little strange but many people report feeling instant relief from their symptoms after performing this exercise. It is not a cure for the condition and it may take several attempts before you feel the effect.

Does Everyone Experience It Differently?

The one thing that most people with MTS have in common is that they see themselves in mirrors and feel as if someone else is standing behind them. Even seeing their own reflection can cause them to feel as if someone else is staring at them from another angle. The difference though is in the way the condition affects each person individually.

Some people with MTS have also reported seeing other people who are not actually there. They may see images of people in reflections or out of the corner of their eyes. Others have been known to experience feelings of paranoia and fear that someone is watching them when they know that no one else is around.

The sensations that people with this condition experience can be very strong and overbearing at times. Many people cope with the condition by avoiding situations where they may come into contact with mirrors or their own reflections. This is especially true for those people who have developed anxiety or even paranoia as a result of the condition.

Don’t Ignore It!

Like most conditions that cause sufferers to feel different from other people, mirror touch synesthesia can cause people to feel isolated and alone. It is very important that people who suffer from this condition get help in dealing with their feelings.

There are a number of support groups and forums online where people with MTS and other synesthetic conditions can talk to one another to help cope with the feelings of isolation that may result from their condition. There are also professionals who help people with these conditions as well though in some cases antidepressants may be prescribed.

It is important to remember that there is no cure for this condition at this time. However, with the right support and treatment, people can learn to live their lives normally and even better than they did before.

These are just some helpful tips on what you can do about mirror-touch synesthesia. There are other treatments as well that we have not mentioned here so if these do not work out, be sure to ask your doctor about other treatments that may be more suitable for your condition.

You Are Not Alone!

Most importantly of all, remember that you are not alone and that there are many people out there who have gone through the same things that you may be experiencing. You can either suffer in silence or reach out for help. It is your choice but remember you are not alone. We are here to help!

Help For Mirror Touch Synesthesia

This post is part of the BBB Blog Carnival – feel free to check out the other posts listed there! Also, if you have any questions or would like to submit your own article for consideration into the next carnival, please contact us! Thanks for reading.

Sources & references used in this article:

Explaining mirror-touch synesthesia by J Ward, MJ Banissy – Cognitive Neuroscience, 2015 – Taylor & Francis

Mirror Synesthesia and the Limits of Misidentification by M Young – Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 2018 –

The lived experience of mirror-touch synaesthesia: a qualitative investigation of empathy and social life by D Martin, E Cleghorn, J Ward – Journal of Consciousness …, 2017 –

Synesthesia: The Sixth Sense by D SU –

Are mirror-sensations really synesthetic? by SWG Derbyshire – Cognitive neuroscience, 2015 – Taylor & Francis

Resident in Neurology Brings Innate and Unusual Capacity for Feeling a Patient’s Pain by A Haddad – Topics in Pain Management, 2015 –

I considered the importance of gratitude and the role it plays in perceiving the world while posing the question, what gives us perspective? From there, I … by M Ciara –

Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia by F de Vignemont – Sensory Blending: On Synaesthesia and …, 2017 –